RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
All right. So a lot of people tonight are going to be anxiously awaiting for some election results to come in. You know what might help ease that anxiety? Doodling, seriously. Children's book author Mo Willems is the master of this particular art form. He did these virtual doodling lessons for kids early in the pandemic, and now he is coming to the rescue again. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.
ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: You might know Mo Willems from his charming oddball children's books like "Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!" He's also the Kennedy Center's education artist in residence. When the pandemic hit, Willems started a video series called "Lunch Doodles," where he guides kids through drawing exercises.
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MO WILLEMS: You're going to need some paper, crayons or a pen or a marker, so that we can just sort of do this together.
BLAIR: These videos have been watched millions of times, but Willems says he does them as much for himself to keep his own spirits up as for the kids watching. And he says tonight, he'll really need to doodle.
WILLEMS: These videos are sort of me reflecting. Like, I'm going to be anxious, and I thought, you know, I could use a break. And if I could use a break, then maybe other people could as well.
BLAIR: With help from the National Symphony Orchestra, he's calling it "Democracy Doodle 2020."
WILLEMS: We're going to do three exercises that are going to be accompanied by musicians. We have a violist...
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WILLEMS: ...An oboist....
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WILLEMS: ...And I guess you would call it a French hornist. I don't think that that's the actual term, but I'm now saying French hornist.
BLAIR: There's no right or wrong in a Mo Willems doodle session.
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BLAIR: Willems' lunch doodles videos have been used by teachers, caregivers and libraries. Fans have sent him examples of their work. He says he's heartened they're taking pride in their illustrations.
WILLEMS: Drawing and doodling and writing are one of the few things that a kid can do for real. You know, a kid can want to be an astronaut, but a kid cannot astronaut. But a kid can be an author and illustrator just by putting pen to paper.
BLAIR: Most of the authors and illustrators who doodle along with Willems tonight probably aren't old enough to vote, but he says they will be exercising their rights.
WILLEMS: Voting is a lot like doodling. It's a form of self-expression, and you discover sort of who you really are as you do it.
BLAIR: "Democracy Doodle 2020" will be on the Kennedy Center's website for anyone of any age or political persuasion. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.
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